Thursday, 24 April 2014

Making the most of your time

I wanted to share this post that I wrote for Alex at Bump to Baby last month when she was busy moving into her new home, in case you hadn't had the chance to read it...




I wanted to share with you some advice from one working mum to another. I’ve been back at work now for more than two months and as Alex will soon be returning to work, I thought some words of reassurance would be appreciated. It’s a big change and sometimes there’s just not enough hours in the day, but with a bit of planning, you can juggle being mum and being yourself.

Take it easy 
Well, wouldn’t that be a fine thing? What I mean by this is when you first go back to work, try to take your time settling in and don’t put too much pressure on yourself. You’re still the person you were before and you CAN do the job, but it will take some time to get used to things again and to adjust to your new pattern. Go easy on yourself and try to enjoy being back in the world of work again.

Get organised 
A family calendar is a great idea to keep track of who needs to be where and when and other household notes and tasks. Write down things as you go and try to spread things across the week so you can still plan in quality time with your baby.

Do your food shop online 
Places like Asda have really useful shopping tools such as shopping lists, where you can create different lists in advance to come back to later. I have a standard shopping list which covers all the basics, from the bread and milk we like to Ethan’s milk and nappies and pet food too. I know that I can just add all of these everyday items into my virtual basket with one click and my weekly shop only takes ten minutes to complete. I also find shopping online for our food helps me to stick to our budget, as I don’t get distracted by special promotions or ‘a quick look in George’, where I undoubtedly buy something new for Ethan’s wardrobe (I’m powerless to resist tiny clothes!). 

Delegate and share tasks 
Time is precious and when you have the choice of spending your day off either doing chores or playing with your little one, I know which one I’d pick! Becoming a mum, particularly a working mum, means you readdress your priorities, not just in terms of your social life but in how important things like having a spic and span home are to you now. Sure, we all would like to have a tidy home and I’m not suggesting you leave things piling up until you look like you should be on some TV programme about people who hoard and never clean. No, you just need to decide what needs to be done and try to keep on top of things.

Try and tidy up as you go – I have different toys for Ethan to play with at different times of day and will only get one set of things out for him at a time, which I then tidy away when he’s bored. If you don’t have a great deal of floor space, this is even more important.

Write a weekly schedule of tasks, from your laundry and baby’s to the hovering and washing up, and assign a task for each day and share the load with your partner if you can. Breaking down the tasks into ten minutes a night will help you keep on top of things in the house whilst still leaving you plenty of time with your child, which of course is way more fun. If one of you makes the dinner, the other can get your little one bathed and dressed for bed and then you can swop, so your partner can put the laundry on whilst you read a bedtime story together. 

Make the most of your lunch break 
A lot of people ask me how I manage to maintain my blog whilst juggling work, taking Ethan to nursery and looking after him by myself three nights a week while hubs works away. My answer? I use my lunch break! I have an hour at 1pm and if I’m not too busy, I will catch up on my blog writing, pop to the pharmacy to get a prescription, drop clothes off a the dry cleaners, nip into the post office… whatever needs doing, I use these child-free moments to get it done so when the working day is over and I have picked up Ethan, it’s just about us.

Prepare for the next day the night before 
I always get my bag and Ethan’s bag together the night before, so I’m not in a rush the next morning. When I get home and I take Ethan to his room to change him, I quickly repack his bag for nursery and lay out his clothes for the next morning. Then, when he’s gone to bed, I make sure I have everything I need in my bag and prepare my lunch for the next day. It’s simple but it’s easy to let things like this wait until the morning, when you’re bleary-eyed and running late.

Use weekends to catch up on your quality time 
As the three of us have our weekends together, I make a point of doing something so we can get out of the house and enjoy our time together. This will be much easier now it’s Spring and it can be something as simple as going for a walk to the park or having a cuppa with a friend.

You need to find time for yourself too when you’re not working so getting out and about can help you enjoy the things you used to whilst sharing them with your child. And again, share your time. It’s ok to head upstairs for a soak in the tub whilst your other half plays with baby. In half an hour’s time, you can do the same and your partner can take a break. A tired, frazzled mama is no good to anyone!

Savour every moment 
It’s perhaps one of the most over-used sayings ever, but it’s so true – enjoy every moment with your child as they grow up so fast. Who cares if you take countless photos of every little thing they do, every new outfit they wear and all the silly faces they pull? I’d much rather take too many photos than regret one day not having so many to look back at. Your memory does fade and you forget how small they were and if you’re going back to work soon like Alex, you’ll soon forget what being on maternity leave feels like.


The freedom of waking up in the morning, with the whole day ahead of you both and everything a possibility. Having PJ days and knowing your little one won’t judge you. All day, every day with your little guy or gal. Pure bliss. Going back to work is always going to be tough, even if you’re very career driven. You’ve spent every minute with this little person since the day they were born but now you have to share them. But share them you must and it’s not a bad thing at all; nothing gives me greater joy than picking Ethan up from nursery at the end of the day, seeing him playing with others then his reaction when he realises I am there. Sure, we’ve been apart for a few hours, but he has played and interacted with children near his age, developing by the second, whilst I’ve been playing grown-ups to help give him everything he needs. Being a working mum is hard work, but the cuddles at the end of the day make you appreciate what you have and are worth the juggling act.
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5 comments

  1. Great tips kelly!! The first one and chores were particularly relevant to me, I was getting so annoyed that things werent getting done but once I accepted the realistic amount that could get done, I found myself far less stressed!

    www.brightonmumma.blogspot.co.uk

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Sophie, glad you liked them! Taking some time to think about what really matters can really make all the difference to our stress levels!

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  2. I had my first two proper days back this week :( It was tricky, I will keep referring to these tips, they're great! Thanks Kelly :) x

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    1. Thank you so much! Hope your first couple of days back weren't too bad, it does get easier, just give yourself some time x

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